Insider offers a breakdown of every playoff series using an expert combination of scouting from Amin Elhassan and advanced metrics from Bradford Doolittle to answer three crucial questions. Also included are predictions from the writers and the classic Log5 formula for determining matchup probabilities.
After an almost 20-year drought, the New York Knicks finally won their division. More importantly, they have home-court advantage in the playoffs for the first time since 2001. The Knicks haven't survived past the first round of the playoffs since 2000, and any appraisal of the success of this season begins and ends with their performance in the playoffs. They've survived a rash of injuries, endless geriatric jokes and a scandal involving the team "spying" on players' in-game conversations.
That incident was spurred on by the confrontation between Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics, the Knicks' first-round opponent that has gone through its fair share of turmoil as well. Losing Rajon Rondo to a torn ACL seemed like a death knell in January, but the team has managed to perform above expectations without him. The Celtics set to square off with the Knicks in the postseason for the second time in three seasons, so there's no love lost in this series.
Boston Celtics (7) at New York Knicks (2)
Eastern Conference Playoffs